Vocational Update 3? or 4? Who knows?

I’ve been quiet about this – at least in the details. I will continue to be quiet until more is understood. I first wrote a letter to a monastery in June, and have been slowly gaining in communication since then via email and phone calls. I will be visiting a monastery from Thursday August 7th through Sunday August 10th. In lieu of a stipend to stay at the guest house, I’ll be working with the sisters for a few hours each day. If I’m really diligent and finalize the vocation questionnaire, I may be able to speak with the Novitiate during recreation one evening.

I’ve told my spiritual director, and three additional friends, the specific details. My parents are not aware. My sister, once she reads this blog post will know precisely the information that is here and nothing more. How come? What happens when you spread your business everywhere – is anything respected? Is it honored? Is it accepted? I’ll bet you a student loan that the answer is ‘No’. Everyone runs roughshod all over your thoughts, your desires, God’s desires for you, and so forth; suddenly everything is up for debate.

In my previous experience in trying to enter the DSMMEs (Thank goodness I did not; I loathe teaching.) I was told a great number of things:
~ we should use this to get more drinks at the bar
~ you’re a lesbian
~ you’re a disgrace
~ you’re neglecting your responsibility
~ you’re throwing your life away
~ do you know how other women will touch you?
~ what about sex?
~ you should go do all the things that you can’t do once you enter
~ that’s a blessing
~ you’ll save your family
~ what grace

See how the vast majority of responses are negative and bitter? How focused they are on an erroneous thought that I’m losing something when I enter religious life. Rather, consider what I gain, in a non-materialist way: God. I have Him. All of Him. His full and complete attention. I get to respond to His love for me in a unique way, a way that I was created to do. I have the ability to work in cooperation with God.

This world will kill you; it will kill me. It will slay me to death with pride, lust, sloth/laziness, anger, greed, gluttony. I do not choose this world. I was born in the world at the time God wanted me to exist here, but He did not make me or you to be immersed in it to the extent that you can lose yourself in it. He bought you and me at the price of His Son’s Flesh, Blood, Soul and Divinity hanging tattered and exsanguinated on a Roman cross at the behest of the Jewish elders.

Keep me in your prayers, I’ll pray for you – you can leave requests in the comment box or you can (I think?) email or message me.

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ASH #9: A bet with God

God, a deity, who is supposed to be bigger, badder and better than me, or you. I suppose because I’ve never seen him. Although I have a tome of 73 books that I read at breakfast & dinner that tells me so. Yet (most) of these authors don’t see Him either. I’m hopelessly falling into the David vs. Goliath cliche with this, but I’ve got enough vinegar to not care. Oh, you don’t care for vinegar….some vodka then? Dern not vodka, fine yo-yo, I’ll give you single malt scotch whiskey. So yeah, this quiet social worker with her scotch takes on God. Lemme back up for a minute, I wasn’t always a social worker or a scotch imbiber, those come with time. But a bet with God, the one and only Deity in my life, shot that’s just tomfoolery. Yet, I made it. I was fresh out of life (like that feeling you have when you’re out of tp and you gotta go?). How in tarnation I was standing, breathing or moving…must’ve been God’s Will ‘cuz it sure as heck not mine. Nosiree in 2005, living took too much effort. My mind & craw were jammed full of other thoughts like pills, death, funerals and what color roses would cover a fresh mound of dirt. God would have it that I practically wander into the funeral Mass for someone I once knew, and make a bet – more like a threat:

I’m giving you one last chance. It better be good, because I can’t live like this. If it’s not good, I’m gone. I’ll leave you for good.

Er, what? Some chick blackmailed God. If He wanted/wants me, He’ll have to come and get me. Otherwise I’d crossover to the not-so Catholic side of things. It’s hard to tell who’s winning, but I’ll let Him claim it.

Sorrowful unto Death

If you were to know me on xanga, you would be puzzled to see a new blog post. Last week I stated that I would not be blogging until I could find myself in a better mood. My mood is improving, but the real break was due to my life experiences and faith, contrasting with someone’s view.

The blogger wrote she found teens and young adults without God in their life to be lost and depressed. She also implied that people of Faith are not depressed because their hope and light is in Jesus.

I can understand where she is coming from, and to a certain extent, I can agree. As a Catholic, and my born-again experience, I can say that I will never commit suicide despite however depressed I may become in the future. However, as you can see in that statement, it cannot be definitively stated in terms of faith, reason, science, chance, &c that depression will be avoided simply because I have faith and salvation in Jesus Christ.

To say such a thing is to deny the origins of depression: (a)physiology, (b)environment (herein, I clarify that to mean geographical), (c)nurturing (partially contributes to Yours Truly), (d)context (I’d say this is what people would more normally think of being ‘environment’).

Physiologically so many things can be depleted or overcompensated by the brain and nervous system, and while I do not pretend to know many things in this area, when levels are too high or too low for various regions, depression may start (along with plenty of other health and mental health concerns). One example would be chemicals that deplete the brain of serotonin, or organic concerns like a brain tumor.

Environmentally speaking, I look at issues like Seasonal affect disorder (SAD), or living in a region where malnutrition is a concern. Without proper vitamins and nutrients, depression (again, along with other health and mental concerns).

Nurturing: what messages, overt and covert, our parents and relatives instill in us. The patterns of communications, rules, mottos, coping, &c that are part and parcel of the family system. For example, adult children of alcoholics grew up with the unspoken family rule of “do not feel; do not trust; and do not talk” and is all about letting other people perceive a happily functioning family, and never be aware that one (or both) parents are chemically addicted or dependent. Or the patterns of thought that are instilled in children who endure emotional or verbal abuse – messages that say they are never good enough and not worthy of true affection that does not cause harm (or children who are physically and/or sexually abused – that they have physical boundaries, respect and dignity). These messages are terribly hard to undo.

Lastly context, I view as those things that play on any of the above components: how one deals with relationships, martial discord, dealing with a cranky (or for that matter, confrontation-shy) supervisor at work; whatever triggers the critical voice in your mind; stress at work or school; low economic status, struggling to determine the difference between making the water and electricity bill, how to find the funds to pay the child care, &c.

All of these things play together, like separate colors mixing while a 3 year old finger paints. Good luck keeping all those separate! Depression can start from any combination, and further exacerbate any concerns in these areas as well. Faith has little to do with it, except for a life-line, a source of hope. Yet, there is always that chance to suicide, and that is simply being in so much pain that you are willing to seek any end to the pain at all. There, we can only hope God will be just, but I’m not about to do as a fellow blogger did and say that my fellow Christians who suffer from depression, or any other mental illness for that matter, are not truly in relationship with our Lord, nor am I to say anything in regards to salvation.